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Assistant Professor & Frank Borden and Barbara Lasater Hanes Fellow

PhD English, Cornell University

MA English, University of Toronto

BA English, University of Ottawa


My research examines intersections between law and literature, with interests in immigration, migration, human rights and humanitarianism, and history of disease and global health. I teach classes on law and literature, human rights, Medical Humanities, and theories and history of the novel.

My forthcoming book, Before Borders: A Legal and Literary History of Naturalization, (JHUP, 2022), follows how naturalization evolved in England against the backdrop of imperial expansion and laid the groundwork for a dramatically new vision of subjecthood and nationality. I am currently working on two projects: Asylum Nation: Refugees and the Founding of America, which traces the colonial history of legal concepts such as “asylum” and “refugees” in British common law and early American legal and literary history, and a book project on the history and social function of unidentified bodily remains. I am co-author of The Right to Have Rights (Verso Books, 2018), and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to the Novel (forthcoming 2023). I have written on a variety of topics – immigration, borders, vaccines, disease, and literature – for The NationGuardianDissent, Boston ReviewLapham’s QuarterlyHumanityLos Angeles Review of Books, and Public Books.

Before coming to UNC, I held a visiting assistant professorship at Harvard University and an assistant professorship at Willamette University. From 2018-2019, I was the Frieda L. Miller fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute and, from 2020-2021, an ACLS Burkhardt Fellow at UCLA.


Sample Publications:

  • The Right to Have Rights (co-authored with Alastair Hunt, Lida Maxwell, and Samuel Moyn) (Verso Books, 2018; 2020 paperback edition)
  • Before Borders: A Legal and Literary of Naturalization (Johns Hopkins UP, forthcoming 2022)
  • The Routledge Companion to the Novel (co-editor with Matthew Hart, Ignacio Sanchez, and Sheri-Marie Harrison) (forthcoming 2023)
  • “Resettling Refugee History,” American Literary History (forthcoming)
  • “The Right to Leave,” Lapham’s Quarterly (April 2022)
  • “Health Nativism,” with Srinivas Murthy, Dissent (April 2020)
  • “Rethinking Birthright,” Boston Review (July 2019) Republished in Le Monde Diplomatique in French, German, and English (October 2020)
  • “The Eyes of Other People:” Adam Smith’s Triangular Sympathy and the Sentimental Novel,” ELH 85.3 (Fall 2018), 669-690.
  • “The Poetics of the Passport in A Sentimental Journey,” Sterne, Tristram, Yorick: Tercentenary Essays on Laurence Sterne, eds. Melvyn New and Judith Hawley (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2015), 201-218.
  • “Democracy, Give or Take?” Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 5.1 (Fall 2014), 93-110.

Teaching Awards

  • Commendation of Extraordinary Teaching, Harvard University, Spring 2020


  • Junior Faculty Research Award, UNC Chapel Hill, 2020-2022
  • Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, UCLA, 2019-2020
  • Frieda L. Miller Fellow, Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University 2018-2019
  • Faculty Research Award, Willamette University, Spring 2019
  • Clark Memorial Library Fellowship, UCLA, July 2018
  • Center for Religion, Law and Democracy Curriculum Grant, 2015-2016
  • Atkinson Research Grant, 2015, 2017
  • Center for Religion, Law and Democracy Major Research Grant, 2014-2015
  • Mellon LARC Grant, 2013-2014
  • Teagle Instructor Grant, 2013-2014
  • Atkinson Research Grant, 2013
  • Bret de Bary Mellon Foundation Writing Grant, Human Rights and Cosmopolitanism (co-authored with Diane Rubenstein), 2009

Courses Taught:

  • ENGL 089 First Year Seminar: Human Rights
  • ENGL 385 Law and Literature
  • ENGL 690 Health Humanities
  • ENGL 831 Theory and History of the Novel